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Trump asserts he can pardon himself, denies any wrongdoing

United States President Donald Trump on Monday asserted he had the “absolute right” to pardon himself in the Russia probe but insisted he had “done nothing wrong”.

world Updated: Jun 05, 2018 08:58 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
Trump,pardon,wrongdoing
Donald Trump’s declaration has raised the possibility that he may undertake some drastic measure to protect himself. (AP)

United States President Donald Trump on Monday asserted he had the “absolute right” to pardon himself in the Russia probe but insisted he had “done nothing wrong”.

“As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong?” he tweeted as he celebrated his 500th day in office.

The possibility of Trump pardoning himself has long speculated about in connection with the probe as the number of indictments and guilty pleas notched up by Muller’s team has risen — three of the five people who have pleaded guilty are former aides of the president.

Trump’s declaration has raised the possibility that he may undertake some drastic measure to protect himself.

He also called the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller, who is probing Russian interference in the 2016 presidential polls “unconstitutional”.

Also read: Trump pardoning himself would be ‘almost self-executing impeachment’: Preet Bharara

“The appointment of the Special Counsel is totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL! Despite that, we play the game because I, unlike the Democrats, have done nothing wrong!” he tweeted

It was unclear why Trump felt Mueller’s appointment was unconstitutional. The context appears to be an argument pushed by some conservatives that such a broad investigation should be conducted only by someone appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

Questions about presidential powers have taken centre-stage, with reports stating that Trump’s lawyer told Mueller that as the chief law enforcement officers, the president cannot be accused of obstructing an investigation being conducted by his government.

The lawyers also reportedly said that Trump can terminate a federal probe by the FBI or the justice department at any time and for any reason.

Trump’s assertion came a day after his lawyer Rudy Giuliani said that the president “has no intention of pardoning himself, but he probably — not to say he can’t”.

First Published: Jun 04, 2018 23:53 IST